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Central West Genetics

Dohne breed debuts at National sheep show

 

7 July 2016, Annabelle Beale, Stock & Land

 

AFTER a four-decade hiatus from the global show arena, the Dohne breed has re-entered the ring and chosen the Australian Sheep and Wool Show, Bendigo as their show debut.

The breed has had a significant display presence at the ASWS show but this year will mark their showing renaissance since the breed ended showing in South Africa in 1975.

Nearly 100 entries from 12 studs from West Australia, South Australia, Victoria and NSW, will compete at this year’s show, bringing the breed’s stringent performance recording to the fore for judges Barry Lang, Oberon, NSW and Andrew Bouffler, Lockhart, NSW.

“The Dohne breed has one of the most advanced breeding systems in the world utilising both objective measurement and independent subjective evaluation,” Australian Dohne Breeders Association president Richard Beggs, Nareeb Nareeb, Glenthompson, said.

“The performance class is not only showing people the sheep but in a way we are educating people on the Dohne breeding system and the use of subjective and objective components.”

While the Dohne breed was only introduced to Australia with the importation of frozen embryos into Western Australia in 1998, Dohne genetics now represent 22 per cent of the national sheep flock.

“Despite a national decline in sheep numbers from 1990 through to now, the Dohne sheep – due to their hardiness and easy care nature – have been able to grow market share,” Mr Beggs said.

This is attributed to the growth in the dual-purpose enterprise, according to DD Dohnes principal Bruce Barnes-Webb, Moama, NSW, who helped with the importation of genetics into Australia in 1999. Mr Barnes-Webb said the breed was quickly gaining traction in the sheep breeding industry.

“Without compromising their wool production, breeders are getting better growth rates in their sheep and it is an animal that fits perfectly in the dual-purpose Merino market,” he said.

The South African Dohne Merino Breed Society’s end to show competition was aimed at driving the promotion of scientific improvement of the breed. These principles were adopted when the breed was introduced to Australia.

While publicity is a major driver behind the breed’s show debut, education is another motivating factor.

“There is no point standing aside and displaying animals when we can educate people about the breed,” he said.

“The overriding move is about educating and bench-marking against other breeds in the industry at an event which is intrinsically a part of the Australian industry.”

Richard Beggs
PERFORMANCE: Australian Dohne Breeders Association president and Nareeb Nareeb Merino and Dohne Stud principal Richard Beggs, Glenthompson.